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New London man charged with stalking

WILLMAR — A 26-year-old New London man is accused of stalking a woman and a girl in his vehicle, following their vehicle at close distance for 21 miles even as they changed lanes and made erratic turns.

Lance Courtney Lovin was charged Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court with felony stalking, misdemeanor driving without a valid license, and petty misdemeanor drug possession.

The two told the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office they believed his pursuit may have started around 10 p.m. Tuesday at a stoplight near the Kandiyohi County Jail on Business 71 north of Willmar.

The 12-year-old female passenger had been using her phone to take a picture near the window. According to the criminal complaint on the charges, she said Lovin's vehicle then pulled up alongside her, "and Lovin looked at her like 'what do you want?'"

As the two then proceeded north on Highway 71, Lovin allegedly drove alongside them, rolling down his window and attempting to talk to them, then getting behind them and continuing to follow them all the way to New London, even when they changed lanes and zig-zagged through town.

The woman and girl told police they were were scared the entire time, unsure whether Lovin had weapons or passengers in his vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, the 20-year-old driver said she could see Lovin clearly enough to know she did not know him, and assumed he could see them just as clearly.

They called 911 near New London, and dispatchers instructed the two to park near the Spicer Zorbaz restaurant for their safety because there would be people around.

Immediately, the criminal complaint says, Lovin drove his vehicle up next to them on the passenger side. He allegedly rolled down his vehicle and yelled, "What the (expletive) was that about?"

"We're sorry," the female passenger replied. She believed Lovin might have been following them because he thought she had been trying to take his picture.

But Lovin told deputies that he initially believed the 12-year-old passenger was his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend, who he had broken up with earlier that day.

He said he believed the woman and girl in the car had been "staring him down," according to the criminal complaint, and allegedly said he would have continued to follow the other vehicle even if it had not pulled over.

Court documents also say he admitted to driving erratically at speeds 10 mph over the speed limits to keep up with the other vehicle.

When deputies arrived, the woman and the girl appeared scared: They were distraught, crying and shaking, according to the criminal complaint. They said they attempted to stop at several local businesses, but all were closed, and they were worried Lovin would kidnap or shoot them.

Deputies reportedly found a small amount of marijuana and a glass pipe in Lovin's vehicle. He was booked into the Kandiyohi County Jail, where he is still in custody, on $25,000 unconditional or $7,500 conditional bail. His next court hearing is set for April 18.